Balagan .0. This mix of circus and Vaudville with live music entertains with skilful acts such as daring body balancing, dazzlineg spectacular hoop work and slapstick clowning. But what it lacks is any real underlying eccentric thread or a quirky, dynamic bond between the performers. who appear aloof and at times almost unaware of each other. The piece is fragmented into a number of quite separate acts, linked only by the projected setting and although vibrant, somewhat monotonous music. But it‘s a fun, entertaining show nonetheless. (Michelle Macintyre) Assembly@St George ’3 West, 226 2428. until 29 Aug (not 15), 10.30pm, £12.50—£l4 (£11.50—£13).

A Clockwork Orange eee This cacophonous. brash, wholly unsubtle rendition of Anthony Burgess’ classic cautionary tale takes its cue from Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation, approximating the latter’s (once controversial) super stylised violence with physical theatre moves. The show, from New York’s Godlight Theatre Company, is performed with plenty of gusto, but it adds nothing new to the book/film, prompting the question: why bother? (Miles Fielder) Gilded Balloon, 668 [633. until 28 Aug, 4pm. £9—£10(£8—£9).

The Edinburgh Love Tour eee Since Steven and Rosemary fell in love in Edinburgh seven years ago, they‘ve been running guided tours of the city’s most famous romantic stories. But marital cracks emerge with uncomfortably funny bickering and exposed betrayals. An entertaining giggle with many surprises en route and you can walk off that Fringe binge hangover too. (Michelle Macintyre)

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug (not 10, 17), 1.30pm, £10 (£8). The Fourth Wall eee The fourth wall is the one that lies between actor and audience, keeping the story in and blocking critical eyes out. Framing this exploration of guilt with a lecture in the psychology of acting, Storm Theatre have created a somewhat confused piece of theatre. While passionately acted, The Fourth Wall is just a little too obvious. (Corrie Mills) C Central. 0870 701 5105, until 29 Aug, 4.45pm, £7.50 (£6.50)

The Olgll Concert eee Tom Murphy’s long, complex play examining issues of existentialism, spirituality and social values. receives clumsy treatment in this sluggish production. A dubious practitioner of ‘self-realisation’, JPW King, himself a dysfunctional soul, receives a new client, a depressed businessman who’s obsessed with wanting to sing like Italian tenor Gigli. Textual subtlety is smothered by unconvincing performances. (Michelle Macintyre) Assembly@George St, 226 2428, until 29 Aug (not 22), 2.20pm, £l4-£15 (£13).

Loser 0.. There‘s some extremely cute dancing, not a little cleverly choreographed tussling and a good deal of airborne acrobatics aboard a spiral staircase in this enjoyable show up from the London lntemational Festival of Mime. It doesn’t really hang together as a show. however (even the meaning of the title is unclear). but the exuberance of the three performers is quite infectious. (Miles Fielder)

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug. 2.10pm, £8.50—£9.50 (£7-£8). Snapshot eee The mixed race daughter of a schizophrenic Vietnam vet. Mitzi Sinnott has had quite a life. Searching for her father. she paces the stage against a backdrop of images of the man she lost. Snapshot is raw honesty suffered slightly from the Cherokee mythology framing it, but it remains a compelling tale of the personal fallout of war. (Com'e Mills) C Electric, 0870 701 5105, until 29 Aug. 9.35pm. £8.50

(f 7.50).

Submissive Barbi .0. Sex. violence, Barbie and punk: this is Elmo Martin’s America. He presents the show in the style of a lecture and, using overheads. he reads his eloquent poetry with a dry wit and a quick-paced. punchy rhythm think Baz Luhrmann’s sunscreen speech. There‘s potential for great radio here. And if you can get over his holding the script, it’ll make you smile. (Claire Piela) Sweet on the Grassmarket. 0870 24] 0136, until 29 Aug. 10.40pm, £7.00 (£6.00). Terrorist! The Mualcal COO Penny’s freaky circus features seven clown-like terrorists singing a number of corrupt and catchy songs. Disconcerting. strange and funny. they beg you to engage with them. This production attacks Bush’s America and puts forward the plight of the angered there. Racist, anti-Jewish jokes are hard to swallow, and the audience alternate between gasps and hesitant laughter is this show funny or bad? It certainly pokes fun at our fears. (Claire Piela) Smirnoff Underbelly, 0870 745 3083. until 28 Aug, 10.30pm. £7—£8 (£6—£7).

Use Once and Destroy COO Heartfelt to the core. Katie Douglas‘s new play explores big political and social issues in a small community setting. The past catches up with the present. lives intertwine and emotional outbursts ensue. Simon Donaldson plays Kenny, who’s just out ofjail. with gritty passion and Peter Ballantyre’s Danny is suitably resentful: powerful stuff. (Claire Piela) Underbelly, 0870 745 3083, until I 28 Aug, 1pm. £7.50—£8.50

(£6.50—£ 7.50).

Dark Horse, Indiana .0 It‘s a satirical response to Bush’s assault on gay rights; sexual politics are bewilderineg reversed as the straights struggle for their rights. The actors switch between brutal oppressor and blind-folded victim and each punch out the rhythmic dialogue in a sleek style. But the plot diversions are disorientating and the unrelenting darkness of the piece is depressingly intense. (Claire Piela) Pleasance. 556 6550, until 27 Aug (not 16), 1.45pm, £7.50-£8.50 (£6—£7). PIaylng Burton 00 Brian Malton‘s one-man show is a sometimes powerful account of Burton's fame, fortune and flaws. With a pompous chuckle and a necessary amount of arrogance, he charms the audience members who make annual pilgrimages to Stratford. Isn’t the Fringe about embracing the new and innovative? Alongside all the more exciting shows, this one is simply uninteresting. (Claire Piela) Pleasance. 556 6550, until 28 Aug, 7.10pm, £8.50—£9.50 (£7—£8). Breath[e] 0 It’s not really


theatre, which is OK. But it‘s not really


Th Writers’ Guild


The shortlists are announced

observant use of colloquialism.

Ila! FestivalAwards

At the mid-point of the Festival, there’s already been a great deal of good theatre at the Fringe, so the narrowing down process which leads me, after enormous efforts from our judges, to nominate our shortlist has been a rigorous one. There are two categories of awards that pertain to the theatre, Best New Writing and Best Newcomer.

In the first category, The Riot Group - Switch Triptych seems well worthy of nomination, with Adriano Shaplin’s crisply aphoristic and insightful text proving an irresistible choice. The political insight of this piece’s forensic examination of contemporary notions of the modern through the prism of history was astounding. In The Devil’s Larder, we see Scotland’s own Grid Iron taking its rightful place among the nominees. Ben Harrison’s text, an adaptation of Jim Crace’s novel, is less an orthodox written piece than a marvellously skillful crafting of words to the actor’s body. Still, it has a quality in its language that might stand alone. The third nomination in this category arrived in town with far less hype than the bigger shows on the Fringe, but has proved a pleasant surprise. Trad, from the Galway Arts Festival, boasts a witty text with much to say on the subject of tradition and transition. lts language contains a Beckettian humour, as well as a truly

In the Best Newcomer category the youthful, dynamic and courageous the TEAM from New York have been a real revelation. The sensational physical performance style, combined with a lucidity of vision about contemporary ideology must put them in the running. 80 too, Martin J Taylor, the author of the storming Traverse farce East Coast Chicken Supper, a young writer with what clearly looks like a big future. Our judging panel will be out over the next few days, and the decision will be announced in the next issue. (Steve Cramer)

interesting either. Steve Lucas’s installation. an extended version of Beckett's 45 second piece featuring a succession of landscapes in a kind of sealed off aquarium. where lights and smoke form various shapes against a soundscape of breathing and heartbeats. is recommended to yoga practitioners (really). It's said to be ‘something that happens to your body'. like stubbing your toe, presumably. lt's only 35 minutes. but I’d rather have spent that time locked in a room with all my old girlfriends' fathers. I wouldn't, ifl were

you. (Steve C ramer) Traverse 7, 30b Grim/lay St. 228 I404, until 2] Aug. times vary. [5.

8 Idol e

lt's not that l hated it. An endearing nutty girl all in pink. a camel puppet and a John Cleese-type doctor: irritating but likeable enough. With a sketchy plot and

E crashing jokes, this is patronising

Playschool nonsense that never manages to prove point or purpose. Lightheaned but lame. (Claire Piela) Under-[wily 0870 745 3083. until 28 Aug (not 16. 22),

6.15pm. £7—[8 (rs—£7).